Steve Austin checks out a flare at the side of Hwy. 7 in Agassiz during filming of the movie Recoil on Saturday afternoon.

Movie explosion rocks Agassiz

Wrestling star in town for shoot

A 20-day movie shoot finished with a bang on Saturday afternoon in Agassiz, with the explosion of a rigged cube van along Hwy. 7.

A film crew had the bypass behind the railway tracks shut down for most of the day, while shooting the film Recoil. It was the same stretch of road that drew producers of the X-Men movie to town several years ago. (On set, one crew member pointed out the bit of newer blacktop that marks where the road needed replacing.)

Crew members from Pacific West Special Effects spent hours setting up the explosion scene. They only had one chance to get it right, said location manager Jamie Lake.

“We only have the one truck,” he said. But as with any movie set, not everything was as it seemed. While the van’s chassis was real, the entire truck had been re-built with balsa wood, and designed to explode easily.

After a brief safety meeting for everyone on set, it was time to film. The star of the show, wrestling sensation Stone Cold Steve Austin, is handed a road flare, and given his instructions.

After hours of preparation, the FX crew yelled the magic words: “Effects are hot.”

Everyone took their places, cameras rolled, Austin walked to the van, tossed the stick, and just seconds later, an explosion rocked the set.

Stone Cold Steve Austin Recoil filming explosion Agassiz

Cameras still rolling, Austin walks away from the van, and the scene is over.

“I couldn’t have imagined it any better,” producer Tara Cowell-Plain said.

All in all, a good day at work, Austin told the Observer.

“No dialogue today,” he said. “Maybe one line, I got to blow something up and kick a guy’s ass. I’d say that’s a pretty good day in the office.”

The movie includes plenty of fight scenes, shot around Vancouver and Fraser Valley, in Abbotsford, Langley, Maple Ridge and Burnaby. Shooting wrapped up Sunday.

“All the fight scenes are me,” Austin said. While he had a long career in the wrestling ring, he’s recently forayed into films and television.

“This is my seventh or eight movie,” he said. “I’m starting to get in a groove, get comfortable. At my age, I’m just happy to be working.”

And he’s working a lot, just finishing the first season of his reality show Tough Enough, which airs on the USA Network and now in Canada on the Fight Network.

The show pits 14 men and women against each other, with the winner becoming a WWE superstar. As the final judge on the show, Austin says it’s a life he’ll never regret.

“I had a great career,” he said. “It was the best job I ever had in my life. I got to travel around the world, and express myself as a character I love, Stone Cold Steve Austin. I was lucky enough to do that for 15 years.”

It was the support of his family that got him to the top, he added.

“They were my biggest fans.”

Recoil is classed as a movie of the week on the BC Film Industry’s website. Fans of Steve Austin can watch for the movie in a few months at their favourite video store.

news@ahobserver.com.